Author: Vasco Senna-Fernandes

Philosopher, martial artist and renaissance man – Bruce Lee continues to influence generations after his passing. Although better known for kung fu flicks that captivated audience and motivated young men to take up martial arts around the world; less is known about Bruce Lee’s philosophy. Influenced heavily by both Western and Eastern concepts- Bruce Lee presented an amalgation of lateral thinking and innovation in his martial art of Jeet Kune Do.

Plastic surgeons at the world famous Ivo Pitanguy Institute-  Dr. Lee Seng Khoo and  Dr.Vasco Senna-Fernandes present their original paper titled “Applying Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do Combat Philosophy in Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery—7 Principles for Success” in  the Modern Plastic Surgery Journal 

Vol.4 No.2, April 2014 by Scientific Research Publication.

A ground breaking article that reviewed all Bruce Lee’s  philosophy  from material including books and interviews. The 7 most pertinent philosophical concepts applicable to plastic surgical practice was selected and expanded upon applied to learning methodology, character development and appropriate technical refinement.

Dr. Khoo and Dr.Senna-Fernandes explored combat principles such as “Economy of motion” –applying them to surgery advocating minimal wastage of purposeless movements in surgery by something as simple as using the needed instrument to completion in one motion that can reduce the number of passes between surgeon and assistant/scrub nurse. Which ultimately leads to reduced surgical time, fatigue, and morbidity.

The article also touches on “being like water” adjusting the surgical gameplan according to the task at hand by being flexible and non rigid. Plastic Surgery is very individualized and a cookie cutter approach leads to suboptimal results unless the surgeon is able to conform “being like water”.  For example-if a perforator vessel is not found in microsurgery; the surgeon will need to be fluid and adapt by finding an alternative perforator or converting the planned perforator flap to another reconstructive option.

The principle of  ”an intelligent mind is continuously learning” is particularly relevant in today’s fast moving era of plastic surgery. Bruce Lee rejected one style as the “ultimate truth” and learnt many other arts such as boxing, taekwondo ,judo, jujitsu, wrestling and fencing- literally unheard of in the era. Today’s plastic surgeon will have to learn new microsurgical reconstructive techniques and tissue engineering to remain relevant in the fast moving field.

There are many other interesting philosophical discussion in the paper relating to plastic surgery including – “seek to understand the root” , “absorbing what is useful”, ”be humble” and “empty your cup”.

Now “be humble”, “empty your cup” and check out the paper.


Journal: Modern Plastic Surgery
DOI: 10.4236/mps.2014.42005 (PDF)
Paper Id: 44419 (metadata)

See also: Comments to Paper

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